More and more couples seem to be trading the “cuddle chemical” for a night without hearing their partner snoring.
A recent survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that one third of couples now sleep in separate beds – but is the same phenomena happening in Ireland?
Sleep coach Tom Coleman told Newstalk Reporter Josh Crosbie ‘sleep divorce’ is indeed becoming more popular among Irish couples aged 25 to 40.
“There are several reasons why people may choose to try to sleep separately,” he said. “That can be anything from snoring to shiftwork, maybe people are on different pathways with work.
“When it comes to snoring, in the UK, it's cited as the second leading cause of divorce so it can have serious consequences.”
'There's a reason'
Bed salesman Michael Flynn, better known as Mattress Mick, said he has seen a rise in couples looking to buy separate beds.
“People buy two single beds the odd time, but what we find more is they come in looking for a double bed and a single bed now,” he said.
“You can nearly sense there’s a reason for this – maybe the guy is doing shifts, maybe the woman is, and they come in in the middle of the night and they want to disturb the other person.
“I do believe a lot of couples do sleep in separate beds.”
'You get a better night's sleep'
On the streets of Dublin, many couples admitted they don’t spend every night in the same bed.
“We have a guest room and I often kick my boyfriend out into the guest room,” one woman said.
“There’s no one kicking me or taking the duvet or being really sweaty,” she said.
One man said he likes sharing a bed with his wife “but definitely prefers sleep by [himself]”.
“You get a better night’s sleep, you feel more energised in the morning,” he said.
The cuddling chemical
Despite the benefits of a sleep divorce, relationship expert David Kavanagh said sharing a bed has huge benefits for the health of the relationship.
“Cuddling our partner releases a chemical called oxytocin which is known as the cuddle chemical,” he said.
“Oxytocin is a bond building hormone and establishes trust in the relationship. It allows us to feel closer to our partners.
"Oftentimes couples come to me for therapy, and they feel the connection has gone and there's no chemistry and then I discovered they're not even sleeping in the same beds.”
Mr Kavanagh said sleeping separately can be healthy when discussed properly – but risks a “breakdown in the relationship or intimacy”.
“Slowly but surely becomes it goes from being a one night a week thing to maybe a more permanent arrangement,” he said.
“People aren't necessarily better off from an intimacy perspective, if they're sleeping in separate bedrooms.”
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